MILKEN RECAP — Hope some of you signed up and read our daily dispatch from the Milken Institute Global conference in Los Angeles. If not, you can catch up on them here. And listen to our daily podcasts from Milken here.
Top takeaways: Everyone knew Steve Moore was a goner; Lots of Wall Streeters might prefer Joe Biden over President Trump; widespread concern that growth will still slow this year and markets could be vulnerable. Lots of nervous talk about “rebalancing” capitalism rather than junking it. And puppies and Gene Simmons. (More below).
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STEVE MOORE OUT — If you are dutiful reader of MM, you know we reported several times that Steve Moore was not likely to get nominated following the disclosure of all his noxious writing about women and mounting concern about his GOP support in the Senate. So it was hilarious for us to see Moore saying as late as Friday morning that he and the White House were “all in.”
President Trump took him “all out” about half an our later. The same thing played out on a longer time frame with Herman Cain who was out 48 hours after saying he was still in. (More on Moore below.)
WELCOME TO JOBS DAY— Should be a strong one. Expectations are for 190K. Moody’s Mark Zandi: “The job market is solid, but growth is slowing. Average monthly job growth in 2018 was close to 225,000. So far this year through March, monthly job growth has moderated to 180,000” (More below)
** A message from the Independent Community Bankers of America: Community banks continue to succeed by embracing new technologies while maintaining the high-quality customer service for which they are known. ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator—a partnership with The Venture Center—invested in early-stage fintechs. By collaborating with our fintech finalists, we’re developing industry-specific solutions that will benefit customers and communities. www.icba.org/solutions/thinktech/accelerator **
GOOD FRIDAY MORNING — Big thanks for Victoria Guida for her MM assist while we were in Los Angeles for Milken and to Zachary Warmbrodt for his help out West. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Twitter @morningmoneyben. Email Aubree Eliza Weaver on email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @AubreeEWeaver.
THIS MORNING ON POLITICO PRO FINANCIAL SERVICES — Patrick Temple-West on the SEC’s renewed push to negotiate with European regulators to mitigate problems for U.S. financial market participants affected by cross-border rules from the European Union. To get Morning Money every day before 6 a.m., please contact Pro Services at (703) 341-4600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April jobs report at expected to show a gain of 190K, unemployment at 3.8 percent and average hourly earnings up 0.3 percent … ISM Non-manufacturing Survey at 10:00 a.m. expected to be flat at 57.0
Bonus from Milken — Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe told us in the speaker ready room about a presidential run: “We were very close. But it was just going to be to tough to get around Biden. Plus I have to save Virginia.”
More on Moore — From his withdrawal statement: “Record low unemployment, 3.2% growth, seven million job openings, and a near 40% rise in the stock market with five quarters now of 3% economic growth, something your critics said could never happen. Trumponomics has been VINDICATED.”
Nowhere does Moore acknowledge that it was his own writings that blocked his nomination. The media didn’t make them up!
HOW DID IT COME TO THIS? — Charlie Sykes in POLITICO Mag: “[B]ad jokes and offensive comments from decades ago did more to kill his nomination than his manifest lack of qualifications or his profound misunderstanding of basic economics. … How did we ever get this far? Why did conservative insiders think Moore was a serious thinker, or a credible voice on economics?”
What’s next: The White House, as we’ve said, could leave the seats empty. That’s probably most likely. Or they can try and find traditional GOP-friendly nominees who are not super hawkish but also not seen as totally political. Tough to find. Judy Shelton remains one possibility.
Victoria on Moore’s exit: “Moore, who like Cain was never formally nominated, is withdrawing after a chorus of GOP senators expressed doubt that he would be able to secure enough votes to be confirmed, given his past comments that demeaned women.’” Read more.
Moore on Moore — Steve Moore on Fox Business: “I mean it was very disappointing that this couldn’t go forward but you know the fact is that this kind of sleaze campaign over the last three or four weeks was just really too tough for me and my family and you know we just decided it was much better for Donald Trump to select someone who doesn’t have a 30 year paper trail.”
More on jobs – More thoughts from Zandi: “Behind the recent slowing in job growth is the fading of the stimulus from the deficit-financed tax cuts. This is most evident in softer retailing activity, and falling retail employment.
“Retailing was already taking it on the chin given the surge in online competition, but as the boost to consumer spending from the tax cuts abate, the job losses in retailing are intensifying.”
More on Milken — Things you can find in the MM at Milken newsletter: My argument with Frank Luntz, Zach’s interview with Gene Simmons, therapy puppies in the Wellness Garden, big bank execs eyeing Joe Biden, Mark Penn and Karl Rove breaking down the numbers of Trump’s re-election chances and much more.
BERKSHIRE BUYING UP AMAZON SHARES — CNBC’s Becky Quick: “Berkshire Hathaway has been buying shares of Amazon. But Warren Buffett isn’t the one behind the purchases.
“‘One of the fellows in the office that manages money … bought some Amazon so it will show up in the 13F’ later this month, Buffett told CNBC Thursday, on the eve of the kick off of Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting in Omaha. Buffett was referring to either Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, who each manage portfolios of more than $13 billion in equities for Berkshire.” Read more.
WHY ARE WAGES RISING? — NYT’s Ben Casselman: “The recent uptick in wage growth suggests a simpler explanation: Perhaps the job market wasn’t as good as the unemployment rate made it look.” Read more.
FED VETTING CONERNCS — Bloomberg’s Justin Sink, Saleha Mohsin, Steven T. Dennis and Jennifer Jacobs: “Trump has long resisted the conventional approach to governing and appears impatient with the traditional White House vetting that normally precedes nominations.” Read more.
DEMS WANT TO GET TO YES ON USMCA — Our Adam Behsudi: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said … Democrats ‘would like to get to yes’ on ratification of the new NAFTA deal, but the agreement’s language must be altered to address their concerns over its enforcement, labor, environmental and prescription drug provisions. … The administration has told lawmakers it would only submit a bill to implement the agreement once Pelosi says she is ready to accept the deal.” Read more.
GOP SCOLDS TRUMP ON TRADE — Our Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine: “Before … Trump can get his new North American trade deal passed, he’s got to overcome stiff congressional opposition — from his own party. Senate Republicans say that unless the president removes steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies, his NAFTA replacement isn’t going anywhere.
“And that’s assuming the president doesn’t follow through with his threat to impose new levies on foreign auto companies, many of which have factories in Southern GOP senators’ backyards.” Read more.
IT’S NOT REALLY THE ECONOMY STUPID — Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter: “[P]artisanship (especially negative partisanship) is an important driver in perceptions of the economy. Voters are less willing than ever to give the other party any credit for a good economy, or to hold their own party accountable in a downturn.” Read more.
GOP SENATORS HIT DEMS ON MMT — Per release: “Senators David Perdue (R-GA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) are calling out Congressional Democrats for embracing the experimental Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to pay for expensive policy proposals” Read more.
DEUTSCHE HAS SEEN TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS — Bloomberg’s Greg Farrell: “Trump doesn’t want anyone to see his tax returns. Not the public. Not Congress. But at least one group has peered into the carefully guarded trove and could provide some insight — a team from Deutsche Bank AG.
“The bankers got a look before agreeing to lend to the Trump Organization in 2012 — access that was described by two people familiar with the interaction. It was all part of a fresh start on a banking relationship that had soured after the financial crisis, descending into litigation over a Chicago project.” Read more.
** A message from the Independent Community Bankers of America: The nation’s community banks continue to succeed by embracing new technologies while maintaining the high-quality customer service for which they are known. Community banks use widely available technology platforms to meet their customers’ needs and increasingly partner with and invest in innovative fintech companies to transform the banking system. ICBA’s recent ThinkTECH Accelerator—in partnership with The Venture Center—invested in and mentored early-stage fintech startups to accelerate the development of community bank-focused financial innovations. Learn more about the high-tech, high-touch future of community banking. www.icba.org/solutions/thinktech/accelerator **